I’m away in Chile for work so have been doing a lot of travelling which gives me a great opportunity to review aeroplane food/airports etc
*Taxi from Durham to Newcastle Airport:
Won’t name the company but come on guys! Taxi turns up half an hour early as apparently they wrote the time down wrong so I end up running around getting ready rather than taking it a bit easier. Anyway, the driver seemed like a nice enough bloke (although could probably tone down his criticism of female drivers!). He informed me that his steering wheel had locked going round a roundabout earlier in the morning so he was worried it might do it again on the A1, great!! He did tell me to go to the shell petrol station for a bacon butty if I wanted to save myself from airport prices, probably sound advice but I went for airport food anyway to kill some time.
First up British Airways: On my first 2 short flights to get to Madrid via Heathrow we got drinks and nibbles. I opted for the traveller’s classic of a tomato juice and also received some excellent Dormen Indian korma flavoured crisps/mini poppadoms. Next flight I got a tea (which actually tasted like tea!) and some high end Fox’s chocolate biscuits. Well done BA!
Madrid to Santiage on Iberia: I’d heard a lot of bad things about Iberia who, despite being a national carrier, have a reputatuion as a bit more budget than that. Therefore I was not looking forward to spending 14 hours on one of their planes. Flight was supposed to take off at midnight but we were around an hour late because it took ages to get everyone on the plane for some reason, not a good start. First thing I noticed to my horror was the lack of seat back tvs! Argh! No entertainment for 14 hours! There was a tv hanging from the ceiling further up from me but that was all. The food was also pretty standard/rubbish, not that plane food is ever great, although I can reccomend Air France’s. At least the cakes were lemon flavour and not the vomit inducing ginger+cinnamon+nutmeg like all American flights (was tempted to call this post “cakes on a plane”). All that said I have trouble sleeping on planes but actually managed an 8 hour snooze, perhaps because of the lack of entertainment so can’t complain really.
Santiago to La Serena, LAN Chile internal flight: LAN are an excellent airline, I’ve done long haul with them before and was mighty impressed with the service and the quality, the air stewards come round with full size bottles of wine with little white neckerchiefs, old school cool!
Newcastle: pretty decent really, good range of shops and the food is ok if not a little pricey
Heathrow T5: A weird combination of luxury shops and restaurants, and hundreds of depressed families from all over the world trying to sleep in the waiting area.
Madrid T4: For some reason I only ever come here when no one else is around, the stylish building is a vast woodern and glass cavern with tonnes of gates but there’s never more than about 20 people in the whole place at any one time. Very odd! not much to do either as there’s only a few shops and eateries and half of them were closed.
Santiago: decent airport with a cafe called ARS (pictured), what more can you ask for?
*Hotels: I can reccomend the Hotel Orly on Av. Pedro de Valdivia in the Providencia district for anyone going to/through Santiago. Very nice rooms, free wifi and a beautiful colonial style terrace area for breakfast all for $120 a night.